Whether you are writing critically, creatively, or commercially, transparency is essential to your writing. Transparency can mean several things, depending on what you are writing. However, at its core, transparency is all about authenticity.
When you write transparently, you show yourself – authentically. You let people see you for who you are: your thoughts, your feelings, your opinions.
For this reason, transparency can help readers to grow attached to your writing. All because it feels real. Whether this is due to you telling a personal story, or because you’ve written about something factual, and been transparent about the facts – you’ve shown everything as it is, and in doing so, allowed your reader to connect with you and the story.
Given that transparency is so essential to developing a meaningful relationship with your reader, the next question is: how do you do it?
Transparency can be difficult to get to grips with. But, much like riding a bike, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it forever.
Write for yourself
It may sound counter-productive to tell you to write for yourself. For many years, we are told to write with other people in mind. If you are writing a persuasive letter, you need to keep in mind the person you are writing to, so it can be as compelling as possible. If you are writing commercially, you need to consider what will sell.
Yet, when aiming for transparency, a great place to start is to ignore everyone else. When you write for yourself, you don’t consider other’s opinions. You don’t edit yourself to be more palatable, or more sellable. By writing from the heart, without a care for others opinions, you can achieve transparency. You can be wholly yourself, because you aren’t thinking about how others will react.
Write with feeling
Transparency is all about connecting with your reader. So the next thing you need to do when aiming for transparency is to write with feeling. After all, isn’t the one thing connecting us all our emotions? We all experience hurt, joy, disappointment, and sorrow.
When you write with feeling – about your struggles, about your successes – people can see themselves in your writing and connect with you. Better than that: they can see you. When you write about your emotions, you humanize yourself. You let people see you at your best and worst. Isn’t that exactly what transparency is?
Look at all sides of the argument
There are a hundred sides to every story. Whether you are writing about a story from your personal life, or something happening in the news, considering every side of the story leads to transparency.
It would be easy to say a narrative happened only one way, but this just isn’t true. By admitting that your opinion might not be the be-all-end-all of a story, you are being transparent about the truth.
In a society that is valuing facts less and less, being open about the facts – their sources, their implications – you are allowing your readers a glimpse into a world in which everything might not be so black and white. When it comes down to it, the truth is rarely transparent. But by looking at all sides, you can get yourself and your readers as close as possible.